Saturday, December 12, 2009

The week slipped by without a chance for much blogging.

I ended up at a workshop in a "campus" high school. To follow up to the last the post about the closing of my old high school, the city converts big old "failing high schools" into "campus high schools" which is four to five high schools each with their own separate staff and administration. This somehow improves graduation rates.

It also means you can't get a cup of coffee since there is no longer a teacher's cafeteria. I had to empty my pockets, produce produce id and walk through a metal detector to get inside. Depressing to go through such security measures and not be on my way to vacation spot on the other side.

Tuesday- The day started in the principal's office (actually it started with a 'coverage" a stand in and babysit the absent teacher's first period class, until I was relieved to go sit in with the science teacher for her formal observation debrief) The lesson included a simulation of the natural selection process that included groups of students competing for Cheerios using forks with a range of one to four tines. The lesson broke every rule I have for observations
-never teacher a new concept for a formal observation
-never attempt a lesson that you have not taught successfully before
-never ever include something in your lesson that can be used as a projectile

About three minutes after the Cheerios had been distributed Victor popped the cup of Cheerios out of Benny's hand who immediately responded by attempting to scoop up the remaining Cheerios to throw at Victor. He was unsuccessful. Like a prehistoric raptor, I swooped down and removed the tray from the table, rearranged the Cheerio scooping groups, with exclusion of Victor and Benny and crawled around the floor picking up Cheerios. All the while hoping to be invisible.

I wasn't. Chubby middle-age support teachers are rarely invisible.
And everyone knows prehistoric raptors did not adapt to changing environment and subsequently did not make the natural selection cut.
Or maybe everyone doesn't know that. The lesson was not rated satisfactory.

A Mr. Copernicus Story
Mr. Copernicus was teaching the Doppler effect. The last time I learned about the Doppler Effect was with Mr Friend in ninth grade. (Mr. Friend was really the name of my ninth grade Earth Science teacher- he qualifies for the more than thirty year rule, if the story happened more than three decades ago -I don't change the name)
I learned then, that the Doppler Effect makes fire engines sound differently coming and going. Must have made an impression - I still remember it.

What I learned from Copernicus is that the Doppler effect explains the expansion of the universe- by providing evidence that most stars are moving away from the Earth. (If Mr. Friend taught that- I don't recall it - too busy thinking about fire engines)
It has something to do with wave lengths and blue or red shifts. Of course, helpful support teacher me, turns right to the practice Regents questions and it all comes down to knowing that a blue shift indicates a star's approach while a red shift indicates it's retreat.

"We should make a poem," I helpfully suggest- and within in minutes -I'm jumping and cheering:
Shift to the blue- coming towards you!
Red you say- moving away!

Copernicus was at the back of the room doubled up with laughter.
Not the class- they've had my helpful input for three years- they know I'm weird.

"Don't you think it's important they understand the concept?" Copernicus asked.
"I think it's important that they pass"

And remember why firetrucks sound differently coming and going- for forty years.

My resolve to not make this a whining blog has kept me from including all the details about why the week was going downhill. But it was.
If co-teaching is marriage even the good marriages have their bad days.
And my spouse yelled at me, loudly, in front of the students who hardly give me any respect in the first place.
So I was pissed.
I was really, really pissed.
Had to stay for the monthly steering meeting so I needed to go out and eat a large plate of lasagna, a whole buttered Italian bread, and three Reeses Peanut Butter Christmas Trees before the meeting- where I was voted in as Recorder despite my campaign against myself.

Friday- Finally
Okay- by Friday I was in a pretty mean mood.
I was mean to the teacher who hadn't handed in the IEP I prepared 10 days ago when it was due, and all she had to do was copy it and submit it,
I was mean to the ELA teacher, her co-teacher, who dutifully handed me the incomplete, improperly prepared copies- because the special ed teacher had left early.
I was mean to school secretary who left Medicaid letters for me to distribute to the 85 students in different grades and homerooms , on my desk.
I was mean to social worker who handed me the attendance sheets that were due last week, along with the progress reports that shouldn't have been torn from the packet until June.

I left immediately at the closing bell.
I was not mean to the man at the liquor store who sold me nice Beaujolais and had the kid carry all the bottles out to the car.

Eight days and counting 'til winter break.


  1. I can't count the number of events in NYC government service that are made better -- or at least tolerable -- with the combination of chocolate and peanut butter and pizza. I know I should be taking a walk when I get "annoyed" but peanut butter somehow is a lot easier.

  2. I know you had a bad week, but the stop for booze had me cracking up!